I’m thrilled to discover I am not the only personal who gets a little enthusiastic about quality tools. Ez from Creature Comforts waxed poetic about her love of the KUM pencil sharpener. I wholeheartedly agree that KUM makes THE BEST pencil sharpeners. The two-hole sharpener is great for both regular and colored pencils. A whole assortment of these sharpeners are available at your local art supply stores or online at Utrecht, or at Jet Pens. If you only use standard-sized pencils, I highly recommend the single-hole metal sharpener with spare blade.
Ecosystem is a new brand of 100% post-consumer recycled paper journals. I found this one in my local Barnes & Noble. They were about $1-$2 less expensive than the comparable Moleskine. The Ecosystem books are sold in 3 sizes (small 3-5/8 x 5-5/8, medium 5-1/4×8-1/4 and large 7-3/8 x 9-7/8), with flexible or hardcover options with 6 different colors option for the cover and available in blank, gridded or lined versions. The blank version is called, The Artist; the gridded version, The Architect and the lined version, you guessed it, The Author.
This is the small, flexible cover version, gridded with a vibrant pink cover. The size is comparable to the pocket Moleskine. (I didn’t have an exact match so I photographed it with my soft cover date book from last year.) The Ecosystem small is just about the same pocketable size as the Moleskine, the elastic closure is thick and sturdy too.
The inside covers of the Ecosystem have a leaf pattern in coordinating colors with the cover and information about their lost and found tracking system. Each book is printed with a number that can be entered into the Ecosystem site to help reconnect an owner with a lost book. I think this is a very nice added-service. There is a paper pocket in the back cover just like a Moleskine to hold loose scraps.
Ecosystem has a color-coordinated bookmark ribbon in a solid cotton material, pretty heavy-duty. Comparing the paper stocks between Ecosystem and Moleskine, the most notable difference is the color. Though Ecosystem uses recycled paper, it is bright white. Just by feel, the paper feels heavier so I’m hoping that ink tests will prove that the Ecosystem has far less bleed-through which is my number one complaint with Moleskines. The grid lines are a bit too dark for my liking but I tend to prefer blank books to lined or gridded in general so I’m probably biased.
Niftynotebook on Flickr did some pen tests and, with the exception of two tools (a Sharpie and Acculiner Ultrafine), the bleed-through on the Ecosystem paper is negligible. Hooray!
Based on price, the availability of coveted lime green covers (for me, anyway, maybe you’d perfer the bright blue, pink or traditional black?) and minimal ink bleed-through, I think the Ecosystem notebooks are a winner. The added bonus of environmentalism, lost and found service and custom inserts only furthers my belief that they took a good idea and made it better.